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Murphy looks for Hall validation

Murphy looks for Hall validation

ATLANTA -- When Dale Murphy was playing in Atlanta, he was as beloved as any player who has ever worn a Braves uniform. Along with being one of the National League's finest players, Murphy further endeared himself to his fans with the genuine dedication he showed to his community.

There may have been a short period during the 1980s, when Murphy seemed to be a cinch for future Hall of Fame induction. But since being placed on the ballot in 1999, he's never received more than 24 percent of the votes. To be enshrined, a player must receive support from 75 percent of the voters.

"I would love to see Dale in the Hall of Fame," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "For two reasons, the numbers he put up, [and] he was MVP twice. And if you look at the all-around type of player he was, he went from catcher to first base to left field to center field and became a Gold Glove winner. Also his character, what he does for communities and all that, has to add in somewhere."

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If the Hall of Fame were simply based on character, Murphy would have been a first-ballot inductee. Unfortunately for him, his resume includes a .265 lifetime batting average that came as a result of some unproductive late years in his career. He hit .289 from 1982-87, then at the age of 32 -- and batted .238 from 1988 until the end of his career in '93.

Still, Murphy was undoubtedly one of the greatest players during the 1980s. He was the National League's MVP in 1982 and '83 -- making him and Roger Maris the only non-Hall of Famers to win consecutive MVP Awards. Murphy's only offensive equals in terms of power numbers during the course of the entire decade were Mike Schmidt and Eddie Murray, who are already in the Hall.

Murphy compiled more total bases than anybody during the '80s. During the decade, Schmidt was the only player with more homers and Murray the only player with more RBIs.

During his career, which also included stints with the Rockies and Phillies, Murphy amassed 398 homers, 2,111 hits and 1,266 RBIs. The converted catcher won five Gold Gloves as an outfielder and didn't miss a game from 1982-86.

"I hope he gets in there," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. "I think he is a very deserving candidate and wonderful human being. He'd be a very wonderful recipient."

Murphy, who lives with his family in Utah, may begin receiving more votes as voters begin to assess that he amassed his stats without the benefit of the illegal substances that have recently tainted the game's record book.

"I don't understand why he hasn't gotten more respect from the voters," said Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren, who broadcast many of Murphy's games while the Atlanta legend spent 15 years of his 18-year career with the Braves.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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